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Afield and Afloat

NEBRASKAland Magazine staff will share their experiences in Nebraska’s great outdoors, reveal what goes into producing the magazine, and toss in the occasional photo tip, ideas on where to go, and what to do outside.

The Love of the Hunt

Myself and husband Tom had a great sandhill waterfowl hunt on long-time friend/landowner Ted Thornburg's ranch.

  There is nothing like hunting season; when brisk air bites at bare skin and the challenge of the hunt begins. Every hunt has its challenges, which evens the score for the quarry and keeps the hunter in pursuit. Hunting isn’t about the kill or bag limits, or it shouldn’t be, but is a personal quest, a way to touch nature, view it and be a part of it. While walking fields of bluestem and stubble during the Pheasants Forever ... Read More »

A Dry Idea: The Sticky Business of Wader Repair

Cracked wader boots

In the December issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine, I have a lighthearted article on page 44 about my failed attempt to repair my beloved waders given to me as an anniversary gift by my wife years ago. As stated in the article, patching waders can be a futile effort. If you want to just make it through the season it can often be accomplished with some success, however. As a fisheries biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Joe Rydell ... Read More »

Garlic Mustard on Basswood Ridge WMA

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The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is planning a prescribed burn to improve wildlife habitat on Basswood Ridge Wildlife Management Area near Homer, Neb. on Thursday, November 6. Approximately 150 acres of this site will be burned to reduce the presence of undesirable plants. Area users should expect the prescribed burn to start in the late morning and last the remainder of the day. This prescribed fire is expected to be a low intensity burn, primarily consuming leaf litter and ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: Moving the Spotlight

With the sun just below the horizon, this scene at Whitney Lake is brightened by a dead tree and stars. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

One day this week I set out early looking to capture photos of migrating sandhill cranes which commonly stay over in our area on their journey southward this time of year. Even though I had heard promising reports from the previous night I didn’t find where the cranes had roosted. I did, however, capture the above image which I believe is worth keeping. One of the challenges in landscape photography is recognizing the portion of a scene that makes it ... Read More »

Fall Crafts at Ponca State Park

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Come celebrate the beginning of the holiday season on Saturday, November 8 at Ponca State Park. The entire family can make pinecone owl ornaments, fall wreaths and then test their archery skills at the Eric Wiebe Shooting Complex. Meet at the Resource and Education center at 10 a.m. to learn about the owls of Ponca State Park while making your own owl craft to display at home for the fall season. All ages are welcome at $2 per craft. Then ... Read More »

Ponca State Park’s Hallowfest Proceeds Go Back to Community

Ponca State Park’s 16th Annual Hallowfest enjoyed beautiful fall weather this past Saturday, October 18. Crafts and activities were enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. The park’s main attraction, Haunted Hayrack rides, pulled in over 900 guests. Proceeds from the rides were given back to the surrounding communities through: Ponca Fire and Rescue, Allen Consolidated School’s Junior Class, Ponca High School’s “One Act” group, and the Ponca Honor Society. The event’s famous pumpkin rolling contest had three age ... Read More »

Smoky Gray Photos

Scott Justice of Chadron harvested this turkey of the erythristic, or red, color phase. (Submitted photo)

“Smoky gray” isn’t often a quality we photographers seek in images, but it’s a different story when it comes to turkeys. I was pleased to receive a few photos of smoky gray phase wild turkeys after requesting them in a post last week. While most of the responses I received were from northwestern Nebraska, it appears some really unique birds, ranging from all white plumage to a colorful mix, are seen on occasion throughout the state. The most eye-catching of ... Read More »

Soldiers Point the Way at Fort Atkinson SHP

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By Julie Ashton, Friends of Fort Atkinson If you have driven into Fort Calhoun lately, you’ll notice a few new soldiers standing on the north and south sides of town. These soldiers, made of iron and painted to look 3-dimensional, are part of an effort to bring additional recognition to Fort Atkinson State Historical Park and help brand the area as a “fort” town. A plan was laid out that would involve the Commission, the Fort, the City of Fort ... Read More »

Panhandle Passages: The Great White Turkey

Wild turkeys, one of which is likely a "smoky gray" phase bird, walk through grass in the Nebraska National Forest. (Photo by Justin Haag)

As I was driving through the Nebraska National Forest southeast of Chadron on Thursday, a pleasant surprise greeted me as I rounded a bend in the road. Discovering a flock of wild turkeys is certainly no cause for amazement these days but one bird predominantly covered by white feathers stood out among the group. The big bird didn’t give me much time to get a photo before it disappeared over the horizon, but you should be able to see that ... Read More »